Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Kamala Harris defends Biden as her allies stand ready to back her should he step aside

By 37ci3 Jul3,2024

WASHINGTON – One week after President Joe Biden poor discussion performanceVice President Kamala Harris has emerged, both publicly and privately, as one of his fiercest defenders and the person with the strongest support to succeed him. on the ticket if he resigned.

NBC News spoke with seven sources who said that while Harris is focused on building trust in Biden, his staunch allies are making it clear that he would have broad support within the party if he gets the chance to step into the top role. . Those allies, which include a number of Black Democrats, have made it clear that any attempt to push him aside this year will be met with a strong, vocal pushback.

“I think he’s done a very good job standing up,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, adding that while he will continue to support Biden as the party’s nominee, he should not switch to Harris if Biden leaves the party. “He’s always been good. I think he is better. I think he’s better than all the names out there.

Sharpton, a civil rights activist and MSNBC host, added that she had “no doubt” that the motivation of anyone trying to oust Harris, who is first lady, black and South Asian, as vice president, was “a racist and a misogynist.” is

“If anybody’s tried it, they better know I’m on the tracks trying to stop the train from moving forward,” Sharpton said of any attempt to put anyone other than Harris at the top of the ticket. “When people voted for Biden to run, they voted for the Biden-Harris ticket. How are you going to open that ticket now? There is no legitimate excuse. Counting ‘We can do it because she’s a woman and she’s Black.’ Well, black men and women shouldn’t have to endure this reckoning.”

Minutes into the debate, Harris was already delivering a strong defense of Biden on television. Three sources familiar with the series of interviews said Harris received no formal talking points from the campaign and had little time to prepare.

His The immediate reaction gave Democrats a blueprint to defend Biden after he said on CNN: “I’m not going to spend all night talking to you about the last 90 minutes. last 3½ years of performance.”

After publicly attacking former President Donald Trump for pushing “lies” and “damaging the country” and making it clear he was laser-focused on beating Trump in November, Democrats followed suit.

The impact of Harris’ ability to quickly push back on questions about Biden’s energy and ability his second term helped calm some of the criticism that has dogged him for years, including questions about his effectiveness in governing and whether he could win the presidency. The Biden campaign has aired his interviews as talking points to defend the president, and some Democrats have quietly pointed to his performance as evidence that Biden will not be sidelined as the party’s nominee if he drops out of the race.

Meanwhile, Harris himself has been fielding and fielding calls from dozens of party leaders, civil rights activists and donors to convince them of the ways Biden will move forward as a candidate and help unify the party. Four sources spoke directly to Harris last week. During those calls, Harris reiterated his commitment to Biden and that Biden has weathered tough storms in the past, including when his path was uncertain in the 2020 primaries.

A person familiar with Harris’ thinking said the message was: “We’re ready for this fight. Let’s stay positive. Head down. Let’s execute because we have a lot to do.”

On Wednesday, Biden and Harris joined an all-staff call with the campaign team and delivered similar messages.

“We’re not going to back down,” Harris said. “We will follow the instructions of our president. We will fight and win. … Joe Biden dedicated his life to fighting for the people of our country. At this moment, I know that we are all ready to fight for him.”

Leah D. Daughtry, a Democratic political strategist with close ties to Harris’ office, echoed that sentiment, saying Democrats should focus on defeating Trump.

“President Biden had a bad night,” Daughtry said. “I think to ignore what he’s done over these last 3½ years and what he’s actually delivered during his presidency is, in my opinion, really very inexcusable and pretty amazing.”

In Harris’ office, he and his senior leadership have also consistently made clear that staffers should focus on supporting Biden as Bilden’s top man and not discussing replacing him, two of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity. conversations.

Donna Brazile, a veteran Democratic political strategist and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said talk of replacing Biden on the ticket was “an attack on the democratic process” and “absolute nonsense.”

“How can we say that we are the party that preserves and strengthens democracy and then subverts the will of the American people?” Brazil said. “That’s why none of us representatives are even having this conversation.”

Two sources said Harris was not originally part of the White House’s July 4 celebration with Biden, but was added to send a message of “unity” to their home as foreign pressure mounted for Biden to leave.

Still, while Harris has presented a united front, many, including top Democratic donors and Democratic lawmakers, have questioned whether Harris will run for the Democratic presidential nomination if Biden resigns. Govs. California’s Gavin Newsom, Pennsylvania’s Josh Shapiro, Illinois’ JB Pritzker and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer have all been mentioned as potentially stronger choices to replace Biden.

And some Democrats in Congress have whispered that Harris at the top of the ticket is a scarier prospect than working with a diminished Biden, since many polls in recent years have shown him to be less popular.

A Democratic congressional aide said many Democrats in tight races are worried about the “chaos” that would ensue if Harris were to run. “There are a lot of people pushing toward Biden because they’re worried the alternatives aren’t going to do better starting with him,” the aide said.

A Democratic strategist who works on House races said the party’s candidates have been significantly ahead of Biden for months and generally prefer to go with him over Harris at the top of the ticket. But after the discussions there was a certain change.

“I’ve never heard so many people say, ‘Perfection would be better,'” says the strategist.

Questions about Harris’ ability to run at the top of the ticket were met with deep frustration by a number of people within the party, including many Black Democrats.

Harris’ allies point out that he has successfully run for statewide office, both as California attorney general and as a state senator. They also say that he distinguishes himself the last two years He worked hard to turn out Black, Latino and other voters of color as the administration’s most prominent voice on issues such as abortion rights, a key issue for voters, and the economy.

Brazile, who remained adamant that the party had no plans to replace Biden, said she and other black women in the party would not let Harris through if Biden decided to step down.

“If someone wanted to go past the vice president of the United States or look back and find someone else, if it was a legitimate scenario or conversation, it would still have to go through some of us,” Brazile said. “Black women are still the backbone of this party. We have been the backbone. And we will continue to help lead the Democratic Party. I’m not saying we’re playing the race card or the gender card. We play the leadership card. And Vice President Harris was a part of the leadership of this Democratic Party.”

Meanwhile, Biden-Harris campaign co-chairman Rep. James Clyburn, D-C., was instrumental in Biden winning the nomination by endorsing him in the 2020 South Carolina primary. told MSNBC Biden will “endorse” Harris if he “steps down.”

“This party must in no way do anything to work around Miss Harris,” Clyburn said. “Whether it’s in second place or at the top of the ticket, we have to do everything we can to step it up.”

There’s also the question of who can use the money from the Biden campaign account, which stood at $91.2 million as of May 31. Sunday, during a tense call between campaign aides and donors, Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said Harris would control most of the money in the campaign account if Biden decides to resign. There are also Harris donors began to strategize On what Biden’s candidacy will look like if he decides not to pursue his candidacy.

A The CNN poll was published Tuesday also found that Harris would do better than Biden in a hypothetical matchup with Trump. According to the poll, 47% of registered voters would support Trump and 45% would support Harris, though the result falls within the margin of error. Historically, Harris’ approval ratings have often lagged behind Biden’s, which has been low.

Still, a number of people around Harris say he continues to focus on convincing elected officials and others that the debate has not significantly affected the race — on conveying that the president he works with every day is doing his job, picking his pockets. A Biden-Harris coalition that needs support, including from major party donors and voters, and an investigation into the case against Trump’s election.

His message, they said, remains the same as Harris said a day after a campaign debate in Los Angeles.

“Four things remain true before this debate and after this debate: The stakes are higher than ever,” Harris said to applause. “This person [Trump] is a threat to our democracy. We have all the right issues on our side in terms of what we are fighting for. You know the fourth thing that stays true before and after a debate? Trump is still a liar.”

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By 37ci3

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